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stolenfeather

ISS = I See Something!

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My ultimate goal in surveying the night sky is experiencing the wonderment of the natural world and how incredibly vast it is. The program Stellarium helps me find remote Messier objects such as nebulae, galaxies, clusters and also comes with a plug-in that enables the viewer to identify man-made satellites. Up till now, because of lack of interest, I haven't used it that much.

However, after going to Florida, seeing the Space Shuttle Endeavour and then seeing it a couple of weeks after docked at the ISS, I have been obsessed in spotting it in the night sky! Unfortunately, there have been many conflicts up till now (clouds, time, school responsibilities,...)!

After reading a post created by Phil announcing that the International Space Station would transit the moon, I quickly checked the weather outside but the horizon was littered with clouds once again. About half an hour later, the Stellarium program highlighted the path of the ISS and I looked through my window out of instinct: It was happening at that very moment and the clouds were,.. GONE!

I had no time to take my telescope outside. The ISS was quickly making it's way across the sky and I have trouble taking "my behemoth" outside by myself. I therefore grabbed my birdwatching binoculars, tripped over a chair, uttered some words that should not be repeated online, and headed outside!

Most times when searching the sky at night, careful scrutiny is needed. Objects are usually hard to find but the ISS? I stood back,.. It was much brighter than I had expected! There was no mistaking it! With the binoculars I could make out individual lights. My telescope would have surely let me see the structure and some detail but the binoculars were all I had. It went by silently but it's light could not be ignored! Although I couldn't make out the structure this time,.. there will be other moments I'm sure!

I screamed for my husband to come but by the time he made his way outside, there was only a few glimpses left before it disappeared over the horizon.

Now, lets see, the first two steps are done:

Step 1: Locate and see the ISS for the first time with the naked eye.

Step 2: See the ISS with the help of binoculars.

Step 3: See the ISS with my telescope. This will be a little hard since it travels pretty fast across the sky. My dobsonian will have to be set in a way to intersect it's trajectory.

Step 4: Capture the ISS with my camera as it passes by my eyepiece. Now,.. that will surely be a feat! I believe that the best way to do this would be with a video camera to then stack the individual video files into a picture.

For now, I sit back and relish what I have experienced. Feel like giving it a try? I recommend using this

SITE (and Stellarium of course)!

Isabelle

Edited by stolenfeather

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Your thoughts on seeing the ISS are, I guess, how everyone feels when they first see it Isabelle, its astounding how bright it appears to look. I have only taken step one on your list but even so its a wonderous sight :)

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I was surprised how excited I became since I usually care more for "natural sights". I guess it just took me by surprise!

Isabelle

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Isabelle, thanks for sharing this. :) Congratulations! It's great to think that the highest research facility in the world is maintained in a nearly circular orbit with a minimum mean altitude of 278 km and a maximum of 460 km! It travels at an average speed of 27,724 kilometres per hour, and completes 15.7 orbits per day - and we can see it through bins and scopes! I know how exciting it is to see too! :)

Edited by Telrad

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Congratulations!...............

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Hi Isabelle,

Well done, two out of four on your first try, pretty good.

I'm sure you will complete your to do list, just keep us posted.

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Well Done Isabelle! :)

When you see how bright it is, it makes you wonder how you've never noticed it before. Close to the summer solstice and with a series of favourable passes happening, this is a good time to see the ISS. Hope the weather co-operates...

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Well Done Isabelle! :)

When you see how bright it is, it makes you wonder how you've never noticed it before.

I was thinking the same exact thing! It's almost embarrassing actually that it took this much time for me to see it. Mind you, I must admit that up till now, I had my sights on other things,..

Isabelle

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Thanks Alan and Rich! That's the beauty about owning a telescope right,.. there's always more you can write on your "to do" list!

Isabelle

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Well done Isabelle, it is truly one of the modern wonders of the world. I watched a horizon to horizon pass the other evening at Mag. -3.8, stunning as always.

Edited by yeti monster

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Thanks Yeti! I truly can't believe that I had not seen it before. At first look it actually looks like an airplane of sorts (with no noise). I may have indeed seen it many times but dismissed it as not note-worthy.

Isabelle

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I kept an eye out for it for weeks but never managed to see it. Like yourself, once seen you wonder how you missed it before.

However, It was due past here last night at about 12:15am, but I couldn't see it at all despite clear skies. The previous night I saw it through thin cloud which was still blocking out most stars. :)

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I just though I would share that I saw the International Space Station for the first time last night.

The first at at about 22:45 UK time and then again at 00:20.

Wow, it was a lot brighter than I expected. The other more mundane satelites I have seen are similar to faint stars. However when the ISS passed over the first time it came very close to Arcturus. It was so much brighter. I had binoculars but I could not hold them steady enough so I just watched with my eyes. I doubt I would be able to track it with my telescope.

dag123

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i was travelling scotland and the isle of skye recently on my motorcycle. wild camping around the lochs in the middle of nowhere and i was talking about the ISS to some friends who have not seen it before. the sky was unbelievablly clear ( i worked in the caribbean for 2 years and nothing compared to the amount of stars i saw this one night ) and suddenly the ISS goes whizzing across the sky. i told my friends before hand that due to the position of the sun and earth and the ISS that at some point during its pass it will probably disappear in the middle of the sky. they couldnt understand and i dont think believed me then suddenly, in the middle of the sky it got dimmer and disappeared from view. they were as amazed as i am every single time i see it!! it truely is up there with one of the greatest engineering feats mankind has ever accomplished!

long live the ISS! :)

dave.

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Congratulations Dag for seeing the ISS for the first time!

Skiddins, the ISS reflects the light of the sun so this may be affecting it's brightness. I was able to see it when it was still light last night. The night time was slowly falling though.

To think that humankind has created something that orbits our earth and shone brighter than anything else in the sky since none of the stars had come out yet or the moon! I therefore share your enthusiasm Dave!

Isabelle

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Reading this thread has really intrigued me!! :)

I've never seen the ISS...at least, I don't think I have...so, clouds permitting, I'm going to try and spot this tonight.

I've run Stellarium to give the passing times.....gosh!! It passes over quickly doesn't it??

Eyes and Bino's for tracking I think!! No chance with the dob!!:)

Cheers!!

Vicky.

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I just though I would share that I saw the International Space Station for the first time last night.

The first at at about 22:45 UK time and then again at 00:20.

Wow, it was a lot brighter than I expected.

Did you see it during the 12:15-12:20 pass?

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Like you Vicky, I didn't much care to see the ISS but after seeing a picture of the space shuttle docked next to it last week, I became quite obsessed with it. I HAD to see it! It will be tricky with the dob but I will try it in any case. I hope you do see it soon!

Isabelle

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Well done to those who've seen ISS for the first time.

For those thinking about trying see the ISS through your scopes, my good friend Eagleseye has managed this several times and been able to capture some fantastic images through a webcam.

Here's the link that exlains how to do it for those that fancy a challenge!

http://stargazerslounge.com/imaging-widefield-special-events-comets/140441-iss-webcam-images-good-friday.html

I've not tried Stellarium for predicting ISS passes, but for those who may not be aware, www.spaceweather.com gives very precise and accurate ISS pass details(EDIT: this should be www.heavens-above.com - apologies for the error on my part. Spaceweather is a great site also though!) , and www.calsky.com gives accurate predictions of transits across the sun and moon (as well as lots of other stuff).

Edited by Astrokev
misleading typo!

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The other night (Tuesday down in Bude) we saw what we presumed to be the iss pass overhead. Surprisingly bright and fast! We couldn't find it to see through the scope unfortunately.

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Did you see it during the 12:15-12:20 pass?

Yes, the second time I saw it was. dag123

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Thank you for the links once again Kevin! I did capture it in the end and shall post it on this forum real soon. It's not a great as those of your friend's but with my humble equipment,.. it deserves an A!

Isabelle

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